Construction of Canal Blocks to Minimize Forest and Land Fires

Over the last 1.5 years, KPSHK has made various efforts to improve peat ecosystems in four village forest areas in Kahayan Hilir District, Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan, through the Integrated Management of Peat Forest Ecosystems program. Basic studies of hydrology, biodiversity and land use are one of the activities that have been carried out. KPSHK has determined the distribution of canal blocking points in four Village Forests based on baseline data.

KPSHK provided training on canal blocking construction to the community for two days on 27 & 28 January 2024. The training was accompanied by Kitso Kusin and Sampang as peat hydrology experts. The aim of this training is to prepare knowledge about canal blocking construction.

Sampang said that peat wetting can be defined as an action or active effort to re-wetting dry peat through the construction of peat wetting infrastructure such as canal blocks, canal filling, drilled wells, and other techniques in accordance with technological developments.

“There are currently 3 peat wetting techniques, namely canal blocking, canal filling, and drilling wells,” said Sampang at the training.

A canal block is a water retaining structure built in a canal body or ditch with the aim of reducing the outflow rate and maintaining and/or increasing water storage in the canal body and the surrounding area. The working principle of canal blocking is to hold and store water as long as possible within the Peat Hydrological Unit (KHG) area.

According to Sampang, the peat wetting technique with canal blocking can be implemented in areas with cultivation functions or conservation/protected areas, with the difference being in the water level control device in the form of a spillway.

“The priority for canals that are blocked are areas that are vulnerable to drought (due to the existence of the canal) and susceptible to fire,” explained Sampang

Sampang added that the blocked canal does not interfere with community transportation routes (if the canal is also a community navigation route). The canal block can be modified with a spillway that can be used for transportation such as boats and small kelotoks that use engines. Drainage channels or canals in peatlands tend to drain or release water, so that peatlands become dry, easily oxidized and release large amounts of carbon, lowering the peat level and being very susceptible to fire.

Kitso said that the stages of constructing a canal block start from determining the position of the canal block, measuring the water level, installing PVC pipes, installing subsidence pipes, and observing the growth and development of vegetation around the canal block.

“Measurement and monitoring of the water level in the canal and on the land before and after the canal block is built, using a water level sensor (water logger) or manual measurement, both of the water in the canal on the land,” explained Kitso

Maintenance of canal blocking needs to be paid attention to when constructing canal blocking (filling). After 1 week the condition of the stockpiles usually decreases, so maintenance is needed to increase the stockpiles. Adding stockpiles is done once a week for 2 months, then every 3 months.

“Canals need to be blocked/blocked so that carbon release, subsidence and land fires can be minimized,” said Kitso

Author: Alma Tiara

Editor: Aris Mawanto


KPSHK Canal Block Construction Training

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